This week we had friends staying with their gorgeous beagle pup, much to the dismay of our two cats!! Wonderfully friendly and generally well behaved, we didn’t think twice to leave him behind for the evening while we soaked up the Pixies at the Eden sessions (who were amazing by the way!) Unfortunately, poor old pups wasn’t so keen on chilling at home alone, and had a little moshing session of his own with one of our old yoga mats. As any pet owner will know, these things happen (you should see what my cats get up to!); and we weren’t precious about the mat.
But this did get me thinking about buying a new yoga mat, and I have been particularly keen to explore the world of green, or eco, yoga mats for a while now. But what makes a yoga mat eco? I looked at 5 of the top green yoga mats to find out….
Origins of the yoga mat
In India, ancient yoga practice traditionally took place not on a rubbery multi-coloured mat, but on kusha grass, on hard earth, or on a rug of animal skin; such as tiger or deer. As yoga moved toward the West, cotton mats or towels were used; generally on top of a non-slip rubber mat, which looked suspiciously like the ones we know today! Surprisingly, yoga mats in the form they are sold now came about in the 1980s; with eco versions only being manufactured in the last 12 years.
What makes a yoga mat eco?
Though they may be more expensive, with not all of them lasting as long as industrial mats, eco mats are generally better for the planet in both the way they are produced and when they are thrown away. Some argue they are also healthier for you in terms of the toxins you may be breathing during the close (and often) sweaty relationship you have with it!
Eco, or green, yoga mats differ in their qualities; though generally most claim to be:
- Produced by sustainable methods
- Made with plant based materials
- produced using eco technology or sustainably advanced materials
- Ethical (though this definition is rarely elaborated on…)
5 Eco Yoga mats
TPE yoga mats are said to be particularly good for allergy suffers as they are made free from Phthalate, AZO and Phenol (considered baddie chemicals after prolonged exposure indoors). At £35 they are pretty reasonably priced too and reviews are generally good.
Rated number one by the New York times and confidently calling itself “the original eco yoga mat”, Barefoot Yoga mats boast impressive credentials. This mat is made using all-natural rubber and jute fibre; containing no chemical additives. The down side? Its nearly £50!!
At £38 (including delivery) ecoYoga’s jute mats are amongst the cheapest of the eco yoga mats. They are produced sustainably using plant-based materials and 100% natural rubber; and I love that they sell factory seconds so you can get slightly imperfect, but otherwise working, mats for just £25!
This Sweden based company produce the most beautiful handmade mats made from rubber, recycled cotton and a mesh of jute; making them environmentally friendly and extremely durable. If you buy them at Yoga Bliss, they charge a flat £6.50 for UK deliveries, so I’d stock up on some of their other yoga goodies while you’re there!
Truly focused on sustainable production, Manduka yoga mats range from £24 for a travel mat, to a whopping £210 for their pro series range! But I’d say its money well spend when you consider that they are all produced utilizing post-industrial scrap alongside biodegradable, non-Amazon sustainably harvested natural tree rubber. All mats also contain no toxic chemicals, dyes, glues or foaming agents. Their pro mats also come with a lifetime guarantee, so £210 might not be that expensive after all!
Something must also be mentioned about their LiveOn mats too. Claiming to be the first 100% recyclable and reclaimable yoga mat; these mats are engineered from PLUSfoam®, an eco-conscious 100% recyclable proprietary. The best thing is, once you’ve finished with your mat, it can be recycled into another one of their LiveON products!
Anything to add?
Have I missed any eco yoga mats that you can recommend? Is spending the money worth it on the more expensive ones, or are they all pretty much the same?